For Ernakulam General Hospital and police, identifying bodies a herculean task

For hospital authorities and police in Kochi, piling up unidentified bodies in mortuaries is causing many problems.

Published: 28th October 2020 03:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th October 2020 03:13 AM   |  A+A-

death, murder, suicide, die, dead

For representational purposes

By Express News Service

KOCHI: For hospital authorities and police in Kochi, piling up unidentified bodies in mortuaries is causing many problems. According to officials, over 100 unidentified bodies were handled at  the Ernakulam General Hospital, mortuary alone in the past one year.

“We get at least 20-30 unidentified bodies each month. Most of them are either found on railway tracks or floating on water bodies in and around the city. We preserve such bodies for weeks or months before burial. Some bodies come in decomposed condition, and it is hard to keep them here,” an official at General Hospital said.

According to police, identifying such bodies is a Herculean task. “In some cases, we manage to recover details from the articles found on the body — letters, debit/credit cards or other identity proofs. Later, with the help of DNA tests, we manage to confirm the identity,” said a police officer. 

However, even DNA tests have limitations.

“For conducting a DNA test, we need information about the parents of the deceased. In 60 per cent cases, we are unable to track such details,” he said.

For future reference, however, the District Crime Records Bureau maintains a record of fingerprints and viscera of the deceased person. 

“These are maintained in case we have to launch a probe into the death later. In some cases, bodies are used for medical studies. We get reports from other states when unidentified bodies are found there. In cities like Bengaluru, over 1,000 such cases are reported annually,” he said.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp